Pink stinks!

I just read about this Website this morning:

And I can think of several people that could find it interesting. Basically, this Website was started by a British mother of two little girls who was sick of the pink toys and sex culture invading her house and jealous of her twin sister, who had two little boys and a house full of dinosaurs and other more interesting toys in a various array of colors. I haven’t had much time to look at it yet, but their T-shirts look cool. They go after toys that are “too” pink, that promote stereotyped roles for little girls or that want to make them look and act like young adults. You know, like high heels for babies or the Polly Pocket Races to the Mall cars…

I guess they haven’t had time yet to post the dance pole for young girls, or the padded bikini tops for 7-year-olds that were recently pulled from the shelves. There certainly is work to do in this area!

Sometimes I’m really glad I have a boy!

Earth Day!

What will you do for Earth Day?

As I am writing this post, I can feel a baby rumbling inside my tummy, which kinda puts things into perspective. I will soon have two children – which in itself may not be perceived as very environmental. But I feel like my mission is to raise them in such a way that they will contribute to making the Earth a better place for everyone to live on. I want to raise green citizens. Really, I am hoping that one of my children will be the one to discover the solution everyone has been looking for – be it for green transportation, environmental ways to grow enough food for everyone, you name it, there are plenty of solutions to find!

Wait, I take that back. If we wait for one of my kids to be old enough to find those solutions, we’ll already be in so much trouble it won’t be much good anymore. We need to change our habits faster than that – like, last year. And I’m working on it!

In the last few years, we completely gave up on plastic grocery bags. On the rare occasion when I forget my reusable bag, I feel so guilty I often end up buying a new fabric bag. I have been clothing my son almost entirely with second-hand clothes. I don’t own a car and travel by foot and bike as much as possible. We just subscribed to a CSA, which will allow us to receive fresh, organic vegetables grown right here in Vancouver, all summer long. We do not buy farmed salmon. We favor local produce. We unplug everything that doesn’t need to be plugged. We have a worm compost on our balcony, where we will also be growing all sorts of veggies in containers this summer. I live in a small apartment right next to my workplace, which I walk to every morning. We use cloth diapers, wipes and fabric swim diapers. We use no bleach or harsh cleaning products (replaced by vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice). We don’t have a TV – instead we go out and play. We avoid cheap plastic toys, buying mostly wooden toys or second-hand stuff, and making sure that they will be used and last for a while. We borrow books from the library. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Of course, there is still a lot we could do better. We still kinda long for a car on days when the Car Co-op pisses us off for a reason or another. I throw away the occasional recyclable product when it is dirty beyond recognition or full of green stuff I don’t want to have to fight against. I could bike more (although I found out yesterday that this will have to wait until August, as my bump is now getting in the way). I take a plane on a long ride every year, and I am not willing to stop. We occasionally buy fruits that have traveled halfway across the globe to get into our plates (oh, yummy mangoes!). I have a cat, whose poop needs to be thrown away in plastic bags, and we now have fish, who use a lot of water when you consider the water changes needed (especially right now when we have an algae bloom). I could use less water when I do dishes. I should exercise more. I should volunteer or do more good in my community. I should donate more money to charities.

So my resolution for Earth Day, this year, is this: I will try to improve my behavior as a green and community-minded citizen, and when I need an extra boost of motivation, I will ask myself “What does my child(ren) see me do? What will they take away from it? How can I be a better role model?”

How about you?

Moving plankton…

Our baby-to-be has definitely passed the stage of plankton. I have been feeling him (her?) (it?) for a while now, as early as 16 1/2 weeks, which is much earlier than during my first pregnancy, as is often the case. Now that I am at 21 weeks (officially today), the little thing that is soon to turn our lives upside down (again) is really moving a lot. And I love it!

Granted, I have never been woken up by the movements of my baby (this one or the precedent). Even though my first-born was extremely active, he seemed to be nice enough to let me rest at night. So except for an occasional annoying kick on the bladder or in the spleen, it’s more fun than anything else. I say the spleen, but I have no idea where my spleen is or how it would feel to have it kicked. All I know is that sometimes I feel kicks on the outside of my belly, but sometimes it’s on the inside and it’s a bit weirder. I mean, imagine something (someone) was tugging at your insides and moving your organs around. Strange. But so far, not actually painful.

And definitely fun. I remember missing it after my son was born. Missing this presence inside of me. I guess a pregnant woman is never really alone (although the mother of a newborn rarely is either, but a fetus is a much more quiet and relaxing companion than a newborn). Once the baby is born, he’s on his way to a life of growing independence. As long as he’s inside of you, he’s still part of you, he’s still yours entirely. Other people may be lucky enough to feel him a few times, but you feel him all the time.

When the baby starts moving, it’s hard to forget that he’s there for even a few minutes. It’s sometimes even hard to concentrate on work. All of a sudden you have a constant reminder of what is to come. Fun. But scary as hell. It’s like your life as a mother (or mother of two, in my case) has already started. There is definitely no turning back. Of course, there never was, but now it’s more obvious.

Although I definitely have a bump now, nobody seems to dare talk to me about it. Only one person so far who didn’t know I was pregnant actually asked me. But no one at work has asked me.  I guess it is too embarrassing when you ask someone who isn’t pregnant, so they will wait until somebody else tells them (or until I am about to pop and they’re 100% sure they can’t be wrong).

Anyway, I’m being sidetracked. What I really wanted to say is that as this will very likely be my last pregnancy, I know that just over 4 months from now I will never again feel one of those little growing things boxing with my insides. And I know that I will mourn it like crazy. Even though this pregnancy is a little bit harder than the first, even though I feel really tired (when I’m in the period when all the books say I should have more energy), I still love being pregnant. And once all is said and done and my youngest is in kindergarten, I suspect I will miss having a fetus inside of me much more than I will miss having a newborn to cuddle.

Although I will miss that too!

When does the Oedipe’s complex kick in?

I love my son, but sometimes I feel like he loves me too much. And it is getting really annoying!

When Zak is alone with him, during the week, everything is great. I mean, of course my son is still a 2-year-old, with occasionally frustrating and testing behaviors, but he is generally nice with his father and behaves decently. Evenings and weekends – when mommy is home – he turns into a bit of a monster, and I’m not sure how to deal with it.

He wants me all the time. If Zak tries to do something for him – take him to the bathroom, go get him in the morning, anything – we are in for endless negotiations or simple tantrums. I try to fight it – I will, on purpose, tell him that I cannot hold his hands because my hands are full, ask Daddy, or I cannot help you right now, ask Daddy, and sometimes it works. But sometimes he’ll just be willing to wait until I’m free. Yesterday I had to move him away from me, physically, as he wanted to sit so close that I had absolutely no breathing room. We tried to teach him the concept of personal space. I mean, I love him and I love to cuddle, but there is a time and a place, don’t you think? Should I really have to have a 2-and-a-half-year-old grafted to me every single minute I’m home?

I know he’s still young, I understand that he misses me during the week, but it’s starting to be hard to put up with. Especially when he gets really rude to his dad. It’s uber-frustrating for Zak, who is after all the main care provider. But I don’t know what to do. I used to try and be the main caregiver on weekends to give Zak some relief, and these days I give him more room even when I’m there so as not to encourage our boy in his obsession. But I do want to spend time with my son when I’m home, too.

Zak was saying that he really does feel like he’s in a pissing match for my attention (excuse the vulgarity), a “boys competing for a woman” kind of attitude from our son. Is it too early for Oedipe? Because it sure feels like it!

I’m a lucky bastard…

A few years ago, I thought I would have a lot of trouble getting pregnant. My period had never been regular when left to its own devices, my BMI was low, my sister had taken several months to get pregnant with her son and was never able to conceive again… So with my 30th birthday fast approaching, I was anxious to start trying to have a child because I was afraid it would take forever. I was working on convincing Zak that children were fun, something that brought something into your life instead of just taking. And he was starting to think he may consider being a dad one day.

And then I got pregnant. Looking back, the timing was pretty perfect: Zak and I both had stable jobs, stable (although relatively small) housing, we had just changed our eating habits to something much more healthy, our couple was going extremely well… It wasn’t planned, but it sure was wanted, and although we were not quite ready for it (are we ever?), we made the best of it.

Then when we decided to try and have another child, I was still worried. Sure, it worked (too) perfectly the first time, but what about 3 years later? Would it be different now that I was a bit older and I actually wanted to get pregnant? We “removed the goalkeeper”, as people say, and I got pregnant the first month. I never had a negative pregnancy test.

My best friend, on the other hand, has been trying to have a child now for about 4 years. I have been following her disappointment and trying to give her as much support as I can, but her situation sucks big time. She has gone through several tests that have found nothing, which means there is nothing to fix. And twice, she has had to put up with the news of her best friend becoming pregnant without any effort. Twice, she has hoped that maybe she would get pregnant in the next few months so our children would be close in age. So far, nothing. Through all that, she has not once slapped me on the side of the head (she would never do that, that’s just what I would feel like doing if I was in her shoes). Quite the opposite: she is graceful, welcomes us with open arms when we visit her, and is a sweetheart with our son.

I sometimes wonder how she does that. And what I would do if I was her. And how I would feel. But I’m not in her position. Not because I did anything she didn’t do, or because I deserve to have kids more than she does. Just because I am a lucky bastard.

At least I realize it… So thanks… and good luck!

I don’t care about hockey…

In this period of hockey play-offs, I had to come clean. I really don’t care about hockey.

It wasn’t always like that. I followed hockey religiously until May 25, 1995. The day the Nordiques were sold to American interests. Until that day, I had been a huge fan of the Québec team – I watched or listened to every game, I knew the name and the number of every player, I went to as many games as I could afford, I had even worked for the team, although in the very unglamorous position of program seller, which meant mostly dressing in a skirt and putting up with drunk men asking us if they could buy us with the program.

Then my beloved team moved to Colorado. You have to understand that growing up as a fan of the Québec Nordiques meant growing up to hate the Montréal Canadians – it was part of the job description. So I hated Montréal with a passion, and when Québec was left without a team, so was I. I couldn’t possibly start rooting for the devil (Montréal) when I had spent the first 18 years of my life hating it. To make things worse, after years and years of cheering for a team that wasn’t going anywhere, “my” team went on to win the Stanley Cup for Colorado. I was devastated.

Ant that was the end of it. I was without a team, so I found other ways to spend my time. I also grew up and started wondering if professional sports were actually worth all the money and energy people spend on them. Questions started popping into my head, questions like, if all these people spent all that energy to solve the world’s worst problems instead of watching hockey for hours, how much better off would the world be? And with that in mind, I never watched a full hockey game again.

Now it’s playoff season. Both the Canadians and the Canucks won their first game last night. I know that because they talked about it on the news, but I really don’t care. On one hand, I wish the Canucks luck because their successes bring money and ambiance to my town. But they’re not “my” team. They are mercenaries, very well paid to PLAY A GAME! So on the other hand, I kinda wish they lose so we can start talking about something else.

Now I guess I should go buy an umbrella to protect myself from the tomatoes people are going to start throwing at me! And maybe next time I’ll tell you all about how I used to love baseball – until the Montréal Expos were sold to American interests…

Dreams, dreams, dreams

Apparently, I have hit the period during pregnancy that is characterized by weird, wacky dreams. In the last few days, I have dreamed of all sorts of people that I have met throughout my life, including in elementary school, some of which I had completely forgotten had ever existed. I don’t always remember my dreams, but there is rarely a night when I don’t wake up wondering how or why these events or people have made it into my brain again.

It may sound disturbing, but it’s actually quite fun. Since in the last few weeks I have been feeling like my belly expanded five-fold and my lung capacity decreased by at least as much, and since I have started feeling a bit of heartburn to boot, this is, comparatively, a quite welcome aspect of my pregnancy.